The Clippers are hopeful to make a championship push this season
October 5, 2023
The NBA is back with media days going on all around the league this week. The talk in Los Angeles has been about the purple and gold Lakers and their additions to a team that made a Western Conference finals appearance. But the red, white and blue Clippers are hopeful to take a championship to their new home coming at their new stadium in Inglewood in the summer of 2024.
The Clippers have been a team who has had championship aspirations since the additions of star players Kawhi Leonard and Paul George a few years ago, but the talk Clippers Media Day last Monday in Playa Vista was about their availability for the 2023-2024 season and their thoughts on the league's new player participation policy.
Leonard pushed back on that policy during the media day at the Clippers' beautiful practice facility."If the league is trying to mock what I did with the Raptors, it should stop, because I was injured during that whole year. No league policy is helping me to play more games," said Leonard.
When it comes to the new policy, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue spoke up for his players. "If our players are healthy, they're going to play," said Lue. "I know there's a big thing, like, our guys don't like to play or whatever, but that's not true. Our guys want to play. Unfortunately, they've had injuries."
With this roster fully healthy, Los Angeles is looking to put all the policy talk behind them to only focus on winning a championship. The Clippers feel with the return of last year's midseason acquisition point guard Russell Westbrook that they have their leader to help put this team over the top if healthy.
"You saw the [leadership] from Day 1 when we stepped into the facility and you need that," said guard Norman Powell about Westbrook. "He is a guy that's going to say what's on his mind and he's going to hold everybody accountable and lift everybody up. So, I think [coach Tyronn] Lue and the organization allowing him to be him is the best thing for us."
Westbrook knows this is a big season and is looking to add a championship to his hall of fame resume. "It would be amazing to do that, understanding how hard that is," said Westbrook. "Figuring out ways to do that and making sure we do so collectively as a group. Taking step-by-step so we can try to get to that goal."
George, who was also a teammate of Westbrook's in Oklahoma City understands the importance of having Westbrook return to this roster for a championship push. "He just always had energy, so who am I to be like, 'Hey, I'm feeling it today, or I'm tired,'" said George. "It just changed the mind-set every time I stepped on the court, and I think that's just what he brings to this team. I think that's his value and why I really wanted him here so much."
The Clippers traveled to Hawaii for training camp last Tuesday in hopes that this camp will be one of the franchise's most important ever! Their first home preseason game is Tuesday, October 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, October 19, at 7 p.m. Their regular season home opener is Wednesday, October 25, against the Portland Trail Blazers at 7 :30 p.m.